Bergen Woodwind Quintet takes world-class to new level

4:50:12 PM CDT - Wednesday, March 15, 2006

By Shannon Littlejohn

When you already have a world-class woodwind quintet at work in your school of music, it's difficult to find another quintet that can exceed local audiences' expectations. That, according to Julie Bees, the professor of music who coordinates the Connoisseur Series events for the College of Fine Arts, is what led her to the Bergen Woodwind Quintet.

Wichita audiences will be treated to the quintet's world-renowned sound on Friday (March 17) as part of the Connoisseur Series. And you can expect most of the members of WSU's Lieurance Woodwind Quintet to be among them.

"They're very excited about their coming," said Bees of the Lieurance members reaction to the Bergen musicians. "The Bergen Woodwind Quintet is probably considered the world's best. They also have some of the longest history as a quintet."

On its 18th tour of the United States, the Norwegian quintet carries an itinerary that has included recital for the Chamber Music Society of Detroit, live broadcast from Washington, D.C., on National Public Radio, and concerts and master classes at Peabody Conservatory and Wayne State University.

Members of the quintet please audiences and music reviewers wherever they play. Known as one of Scandanavia's leading chamber music groups, the Bergen Woodwind Quintet boasts the principle winds of the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra in Bergen, Norway.

The Bergen Woodwind Quintet's individual members serve as professors at the Grieg Academy of the University of Bergen, and the quintet itself has been named Visiting Guest Artists in residence at the University of Minnesota.

Its members are Gro Sandvik, solo flutist in the Bergen Philharmonic since 1967; Steinar Hannevold, solo oboist of the Bergen Philharmonic since 1977; Theodore Øien, principal clarinet of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra since 1988; Ilene Chanon, solo horn of the Bergen Philharmonic; and Per Hannevold, principal bassoon of the Bergen Philharmonic since 1979.

Fran Shelly, a professor of flute for WSU who performs with the Lieurance Woodwind Quintet and has scheduled master classes with the Bergen five, is especially excited about their visit to campus.

"Gro, the flutist, is a good friend of mine from way back," said Shelly. "And the quintet has played here a couple of times. It will be a wonderful reunion."

The Bergen Woodwind Quintet will play Mozart's Divertimento Nr. 14 (K.271); Kleine Kammermusik für fünf Bläser by Paul Hindemith; Beethoven's Quintett Op. 71; Grieg's 5 Dances and Songs from Op.17; and Woodwind Quintet, Opus 52 by Theodor Blumer.

"If we get the world's best group on campus and they compare to Lieurance," said Bees, "that's quite a feather in our cap."

The Bergen Woodwind Quintet will perform at 7:30 p.m. Friday, March 17, in Wiedemann Recital Hall as part of the College of Fine Arts Connoisseur Series. Tickets are $16 with discounts available. For more information, call the Box Office at 978-3233.

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